Preferred by whom?
May 15, 2014 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Should we use the insurance preferred auto repair shop?

Our (parked) 2004 Honda got sideswiped by a new driver yesterday. Who left a note! We exchanged insurance info by phone, and today I got a call from her insurance offering the option of an appraiser seeing the car/cutting a check versus proceeding to the closest "preferred" shop. The shop they offered is close to our place, but has not a single online review/yelp rating/mention except the address and phone number. We've never done something like this before-- and need the car to be driveable as soon as possible, but don't want to end up with sub par work. Anyone btdt? Advice? Thanks!
posted by BundleOfHers to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
It might depend on your insurance company, but when I needed body work after getting rear-ended, State Farm's recommended shops were generally pretty reputable outfits, including some service shops at dealers. I'd think it's really only an issue if you already have a body shop that you want to go to that isn't on your insurance company's list.

In that case though, State Farm was my insurance company, and they were acting on my behalf to deal with the other party's insurance.
posted by LionIndex at 2:05 PM on May 15, 2014

You're usually far better off having your insurance company deal with her insurance company, instead of dealing with her insurance directly yourself: after all, that's part of the service you pay for!

As for the 'preferred' shop: I'd go that route if my own insurance company had recommended them. There is no requirement whatsoever that you use the other driver's insurance company's choice, and probably several reasons not to. After all, that shop would not be working for you, they'd be working for the company that's paying them, and they really won't give a damn if you're happy with the work or not.
posted by easily confused at 2:06 PM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've done this with Geico, but they work with one of the big regional autobody chains. It was a lot easier, because the appraiser's office was actually on site, and there were no disputes about estimates, etc- the work just got done.
posted by rockindata at 2:07 PM on May 15, 2014

I'm echoing a lot of what has already been said here, because I agree.

It's the other driver's insurance company, and while the auto body shop they suggested may very well be the best in town -- well, ultimately, they're not working for you, they're working for the insurance company who is paying them -- the other driver's insurance company. That insurance company is looking out for THEIR customer -- the other driver -- and will thus want to minimize the impact to that customer's policy, as well as the amount they have to pay to the body shop. This may result in their insisting the body shop use lesser quality parts to fix your car, or spend less time on the paint job to save on labor costs, for example.

I would suggest you do the following as soon as possible:

Don't accept ANYthing (check or direct payment to body shop) from the other driver's insurance company. The two insurance companies should be dealing with each other. Let them fight it out. That's a big part of what you pay your insurance company for.

Call your insurance company and start a claim, if you haven't done so already. Give them the other driver's insurance information, and THEIR claim number, if you have it.

Ask your insurance company for body shop recommendations near you. Ask local friends, co-workers, and neighbors for body shop recommendations. Read body shop reviews on Yelp and other such sites. Choose a body shop based on YOUR research, not someone else's.
posted by tckma at 2:19 PM on May 15, 2014

Furthermore, have an appraiser from YOUR insurance company come out to look at the damage to your car. They'll likely set this up when you call them to file a claim.

The appraiser from the other driver's insurance company is likely to conveniently leave things out, or understate the damage, and then their insurance company will insist that's all they have to pay. That's why you want an appraisal from YOUR insurance company's appraiser.

Be sure to get a written copy of YOUR insurance company's estimate/appraisal. Take that appraisal (with your car, if it's driveable) to at least three body shops that you've picked as a result of doing your research. Ask the body shops if they agree with the appraisal and if they'd meet the cost estimated to do the work (because, anything greater than that estimate - minus your deductible if you live in a no-fault state - will very likely be coming out of YOUR pocket). Go with the shop that you feel the best with; not necessarily the one who says he'll match the estimate.
posted by tckma at 2:31 PM on May 15, 2014

Thanks guys- appreciate the advice. We'll give our insurer a call and start from there!
posted by BundleOfHers at 3:02 PM on May 15, 2014

Someone backed into me earlier this year. My insurance company was awesome about it! They had their adjuster meet me at work, and she assessed the damage and told me that she expected Other Driver's Insurance to have to cover the damage. Then we discussed body shops to take my car to.

I really did not like the first repair company they mentioned. After I told my insurance adjuster that, she was very agreeable and mentioned another company in town that they also had a recommendation for. I went to the second shop, and it was MUCH better than the first one. So if you're not thrilled with the first suggestion, ask for another. Most insurance companies have a few agreements in place.

Also, you really can go wherever you want. I just prefer to go to an insurance-recommended place because it means less paperwork and fuss on my end.
posted by PearlRose at 6:19 AM on May 16, 2014

I'd be more inclined to use the auto shop preferred by my insurance than the other way around.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:49 AM on May 16, 2014

« Older Sites for finding an procrastination...   |   Objective: Obtain A Position Doing Something Not... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.